When it comes to providing fresh, organic and clean ingredients, Carrot & Kale, located in downtown Oshkosh, is a juice bar that provides nutritious options like none other in the area.
“You should expect to come in here and be greeted by friendly, knowledgeable staff,” Co-Owner Dan Thede said. “You can expect to get a really good item from our menu that is worth not only your time, but your money.”
Co-owner Megan Bartelt has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a master’s degree in Chinese medicine, which she used to start up Bartelt Acupuncture in 2010. She moved her business into the current space at 110 Algoma Blvd. in May 2018.
She said the new building was a perfect opportunity to put in a juice bar, which fit in well with her business.
Carrot & Kale serves a variety of freshly made juices, smoothies and shakes, as well as salads, toasts and many grab-and-go options.
“We try to source the freshest ingredients that we possibly can,” Thede said. “Most of the things we have in here are either organic or hydroponically grown. We’re really trying to speak to people that care about what they’re eating.”
Thede and Bartelt said their vision was not only having good tasting food, but it was also allowing customers to know what is going into what they are eating.
“I’m not hiding anything here,” Thede said. “You can watch me make your juice, your smoothie, your toast. I can show you what’s in your salad.”
Thede said that Carrot & Kale makes a lot of their own ingredients, and purchase many others locally. He said they make their own salad dressings and almond and cashew milks.
“We can make things off the pulp [from the nut milks],” Thede said. “We can use almond pulp as a base for a lot of different treats. Even our puddings are based on avocados.”
COVID-19 resulted in employee layoff at Carrot & Kale. Thede and Bartelt said it was essentially a fresh start once businesses started opening up again.
“We were just starting to catch our stride [with the juice bar], and then COVID-19 hit,” Bartelt said. “We’re kind of hidden downtown. We have a lot of challenges with our location, and the type of food that we’re offering is different for this area.”
Bartelt said people are often relieved with their completely vegetarian menu, but sometimes people are unsure of what some ingredients are.
“We try to not be intimidating at all,” Bartelt said. “There’s a lot of things that we’re using here that people have never heard of before. We try to be easygoing and help people understand why we offer the food that we offer.”
Bartelt said the juice bar is a perfect example of what she hopes her patients consider in their own diets.
“I talk a lot about nutrition with patients, and being able to give them an example of how I want them to be eating was definitely always on my mind,” Bartelt said. “I was worried it would never work because it’s so noisy and what I do is very quiet, but it’s a big enough building that it works out great.”
Carrot & Kale is also kid-friendly. Thede and Bartelt have four kids of their own that they try to introduce new fruits and vegetables to.
“Carrot & Kale is a really delicious way to get in a lot of good vegetables and fruits that some people tend to be averse to, especially kids,” Bartelt said. “We’re really experienced in trying to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables; you have to get creative.”
Thede said a painter from New York came by to repaint their windows to potentially attract more customers.
“Hopefully that’ll give us some more visibility,” Thede said. “I feel very energized by people coming in here and … really enjoying their food. That, to me, goes above and beyond anything else.”